Francesa Holds Back After Giants End Shurmur's Weekly WFAN Spot
WFAN's Mike Francesa did "not deliver a fire-and-brimstone response to the Giants' decision to cancel" coach Pat Shurmur's weekly segment to open Thursday's show, instead giving a "calm, even-handed reaction to the latest eruption in his feud with the embattled franchise, albeit with a few jabs mixed in," according to James Kratch of the Newark STAR-LEDGER. Francesa said that there is a "'heightened sensitivity' between him and the Giants due to his months-long feud with the organization." He added he "didn't think there was anything personal" toward Shurmur that was said on his show. Francesa said that Shurmur is the "fourth coach to cancel a weekly spot in-season dating back" to his days with Chris Russo (Newark STAR-LEDGER, 9/20). Shurmur said of the move, "That was an organizational decision not to do that. Most people aren't aware of this, but I wasn't contractually obligated to do that spot." In N.Y., Neil Best notes Shurmur was "not paid separately for the appearances on the team's flagship radio station." Giants QB Eli Manning, who "decided before this season to no longer do his weekly spot, was paid." Francesa has been "harshly critical" of Giants Senior VP & GM Dave Gettleman (NEWSDAY, 9/20).
GETTING PERSONAL: In New Jersey, Art Stapleton wonders what took the Giants "so long" to cancel the weekly Shurmur interview. Francesa's criticism has "veered toward perceived personal insults, some of which included calling ... Gettleman 'a liar' and the entire organization 'losers'" (Bergen RECORD, 9/20). CBS Sports Radio's Tiki Barber said Francesa was "berating" Shurmur during their last interview this past Monday and described the questioning from Francesa as "vicious." CBS Sports Radio's Brandon Tierney: "I actually felt bad. Francesa just abused him." Barber: "That's what Mike was going for" ("Tiki & Tierney," CBS Sports Radio, 9/19). In N.Y., Andrew Marchand writes Francesa will "give you a break only if you play the game off the air." He "acts like a tough guy sometimes, but has been handing out look-away passes" to Knicks Owner James Dolan and the Mets' Wilpon family for years (N.Y. POST, 9/20).
LOOKING SOFT? In N.Y., Bob Raissman writes for the Giants to "cut and run on Francesa shows the 'organization' is as weak as its defense." It is "not like the Giants media relations department ... didn't know what Francesa is all about." Unless Francesa is "completely in the tank for someone," people can "expect to be eviscerated, kicked in the onions while you are down, by Francesa." Giants President & CEO John Mara, Senior VP/Communications Pat Hanlon and Shurmur "knew this" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 9/20).